Challenging China: US champions trade over aid as race to invest in Africa gathers pace



Paul Nuki | The Telegraph

America looks set to unveil a new trade-oriented Africa policy which will champion US corporate investment over conventional development aid. The move reflects concern in Washington that the west risks being outgunned by China in terms of direct investment on the rapidly developing continent. While the US remains the single biggest investor in Africa by some margin, China is catching up fast has become dominant in the area of large scale infrastructure. London and Paris, with which Washington is working closely, have both said they will increase direct investment in Africa in recent months. Speaking in London, Mr Tibor Nagy, the newly appointed US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said he had become frustrated with the way some African countries had become dependent on aid and that US policy would now seek to promote a “journey to self reliance”. “There is not enough development money in the world to lead Africa to development but there is certainly enough foreign direct investment to do the same thing”, he said. President Donald Trump recently approved the Better Utilisation of Investments Leading to Development Act (Build), legislation that will double, to $60 billion, funds for promoting US corporate investment in Africa.

Following China’s lead, the Act will also enable a newly created US government agency to take a direct equity stake of its own in development projects in Africa for the first time.

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